Feb 06, 2018

What’s Inside a Vehicle Tracking Device?

A vehicle tracking system is an excellent way for businesses to manage a large fleet of vehicles. While tracking technology may seem complicated, most trackers consist of less than just six different parts. The following guide explores not only how a vehicle tracking device works, but in-depth look at what parts it consists of and what each part does.

What Parts are Inside a Vehicle Tracking Device?

A vehicle tracking system consists of five main components:

What Does Each Part Do?

GPS Receiver

A GPS receiver uses a network of space satellites to determine the latitude and longitude of a vehicle (the location points on an imaginary grid over the entire surface of Earth). In some cases, a GPS vehicle tracker will use different types of GPS technology to determine a vehicle’s location.

Several countries around the world operate their own GPS networks. For example, the United States Global Positioning System has been in use for almost 30 years. However, it has competition from several other countries, such as GLONASS, a GPS system operated by Russia. Whilst it doesn’t offer the same level of accuracy as the United States GPS system, it can still be a great tool for increased coverage.

In addition, Europe is currently building it’s Galileo positioning system which is the only navigation system managed by civil authorities as opposed to the military. While this system is still under construction, it will offer accuracy up to a few feet. China also has a GPS navigation system called BeiDou which has 35 satellites currently in orbit, four more than GPS and eleven more than GLONASS.

Some GPS receivers accept homing signals from a variety of networks. In urban canyons and other areas with poor GPS reception, this can be an excellent way to improve location accuracy. Additionally, it allows a GPS tracker to lock onto the position of a vehicle quickly and effectively.

Small Computer

The next essential component is a small computer or microcontroller. This computer processes data received from the GPS receiver and performs various functions such as calculating speed, distance travelled, and direction. It also manages communication with other components within the tracking device.

Digital Storage Device

To store essential data such as location history, speed, and vehicle status, vehicle tracking devices are equipped with digital storage devices. These devices can range from flash memory chips to solid-state drives (SSDs) depending on the capacity and requirements of the tracking system.

Cellular Transmitter

In order to transmit vehicle data to a central monitoring station or a cloud-based server, vehicle tracking devices are equipped with cellular transmitters. These transmitters use cellular networks to send data packets containing information such as location, speed, and vehicle status to the designated recipient in real-time.

Integrated Design

In most cases, the components mentioned above are integrated into a single box or housing. This integrated design ensures that the tracking device is compact, lightweight, and easy to install in vehicles of all types. Additionally, it simplifies maintenance and troubleshooting for fleet managers and technicians.


Vehicle tracking devices play a crucial role in fleet management, security, and navigation. By understanding the components inside these devices, fleet managers and businesses can make informed decisions when selecting and deploying tracking systems for their vehicles. With advances in technology, vehicle tracking devices continue to evolve, offering enhanced features and capabilities to meet the diverse needs of modern fleet operations.

If you want to find out more about our vehicle and asset tracking, please do not hesitate to give Fleetsmart a call today on 01942 932442.